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Media release

The Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education has appointed Neil McIntosh CBE as its first President.

Speaking about his appointment, Neil said:

The unwillingness to utilise the discipline of the market in education in the UK has led to increasing reliance on central government to control every aspect of education, particularly in schools. The result is a highly politicised education system and a heavy handedness which is profoundly demotivating for educators. There are important lessons – both for us and for other countries – to be learned from this experience.

CMRE has, in a relatively short time, established a reputation for innovative research, bringing challenging perspectives to bear on how markets, and features of the way they function, may be utilised to create a more conducive environment for education. I am honoured to have been invited to be its first President and look forward to charting its progress in the years to come.

In other appointments, Founding Director James Croft, is joined by new Board members Patrick Watson, Managing Director of Montrose Public Affairs Consultants Ltd; Elin Twigge, Deputy Managing Director of Political Lobbying and Media Relations (PLMR); and Tim Evans, Professor of Business and Political Economy at Middlesex University London, under the chairmanship of Chris Lenton of consultancy firm Lenton & Associates, a former Chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Speaking of these appointments, James said:

My colleague, Gabriel Heller Sahlgren and I are proud to have the support of such a strategically minded and experienced Board. CMRE was founded three years ago with a view to exploring the potential of markets to improve education. During this time we have sought to bring clarity to the debate about what we know, and what really we don’t, about what works, in policy terms, for raising pupil attainment and improving equity. But there’s much more still to do and setting the priorities is going to be a difficult challenge. Neil McIntosh has been at the forefront of developments in education policy over two decades, and between them our Board members advise an impressive number of organisations seeking to contribute to shaping the education policy landscape. Their insight will be invaluable.

Neil McIntosh CBE is the former CEO of the CfBT Education Trust, a charity he describes as a ‘social business’, which he led from being a one service EFL provider in two or three countries to become a worldwide provider of education services. He has been at the forefront of significant education policy developments, including the growth of free schools and academies, and was the driving force behind the development of the CfBT Schools Trust multi-academy chain. Prior to joining CfBT, Neil was director of Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, and before that Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), a UK charity providing skilled fieldworkers to developing countries around the world. He is currently chair of The Access Project, an initiative to ensure that young people with high potential but limited means have access to one-to-one tutors to ensure they reach their potential. He is also an Honorary Norham Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Department of Education. Neil was appointed CBE in 2013 for services to education.

Biographies of other board members may be found here.

For comment, in the first instance please contact James Croft on this email, or phone .